3. Practical advice and tips for carers > Moving and handling

Moving and handling

2) Positioning in a bed and chair

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After a stroke the person’s position is important to help with their recovery. They may have to sit or lie in one position if they are unable to move the affected side for themselves.

This short film shows how to help reposition a person in a chair and the correct way to support their affected arm using pillows.

Notice how Isobel is sitting. She has little support for her affected right side. Her bottom has slid forward in her chair seat. This will put pressure on her lower back, shoulders, and the back of her legs. She is holding on to the chair arm with her left hand for support but this is also making her twist in her chair. She has a gap between the chair and her back.

To help Isobel into a more comfortable and supported position, the therapist helps her to lean forward so her weight is over her hips. She then shuffles from side to side while pushing back a little at a time until her back is level with the back of the chair. She places her hands on Isobel’s hips to guide her, not force or lift her back. She moves her body at the same time as Isobel to help this movement. Isobel also helps by supporting her affected arm on her lap with her left hand.

Isobel supports her own wrist while the therapist places the pillow to support her forearm and elbow. She makes sure Isobel’s hand, wrist and fingers are supported and the fingers are comfortably flat and slightly separated. She asks Isobel to support her hand while she gets a rolled towel to fill the gap behind the arm for extra shoulder support

Isobel is now sitting upright with her arm and back well supported and her weight evenly spread across her body.

This short clip shows how to position the person in bed with extra pillows for support when lying down.

The pillows are arranged into a V shape with extra pillows below and on top of the V. This gives support for the head, neck and shoulders while the bed supports the back.

Isobel has another pillow to support her affected right arm in a comfortable position. The arm is placed slightly away from the side of the body.

Some people like to have another pillow under their knees to support the legs while in bed or a pillow between the knees if there is a lot of increased muscle tone in the legs.

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